On March 25, Marlins Bar and Grill located on Highway 49 in Hattiesburg announced on Facebook it would close its doors.
Owner Corey Cooley posted a video accompanying the announcement stating that March 29 would be the bar’s final day of business. Marlins was open for three and a half years. The restaurant offered live music, entertainment and an event space, according to its website.
Cooley said in the beginning he was excited and happy about the challenges owning his own business would bring.
“I woke up every single day for a long time and felt happy,” Cooley said.
He said, however, the excitement wore off about a year ago and that Marlins no longer fulfilled him.
“I realized that I wasn’t working and hanging onto to this place for [myself ] anymore,” Cooley said. “I was working it with a chip on my shoulder and was working it to prove people before me that I could do it.”
Cooley said it turned more into proving his success to other business owners and other people rather than himself. According to Cooley, no offers to buy the building have been made, but he is hopeful that someone will buy it soon.
“I don’t see this as a closing,” Cooley said. “I really see this as a moving out of the way.”
Cooley said he is hopeful that another person who is more passionate will be able to make a great environment for the Hattiesburg community.
“This is not a sad thing – this is a great thing,” Cooley said. “I want to thank everyone for the constant support you all have given me.”
Kendra Haywood, a senior special education major, said she is sad to see Marlins close. She said she went there for the first time on her 21st birthday.
“I was nervous because I had never been there,” Haywood said. “Everyone was so nice and welcoming. I made a lot of friends that night.”
She said the environment Marlins had made her feel safe and welcome.
“I really valued the security I felt there,” Haywood said. “I’m not a club person, so Marlins always seemed like the perfect fit for me.”
Haywood said she is hopeful that a new bar will have the same atmosphere as Marlins and that she enjoyed how close it was to campus.
“It also didn’t hurt that they had $1 drinks on Tuesdays.” Haywood said, “I wish the owner luck in following his passion.”
Tyler Bullock, a sophomore sociology major, said he is sad to see Marlins go.
“Marlins was a place where my friends and I could get together and enjoy a break from the stress of college and work,” Bullock said.
The Farewell Fest commemorating the closing started Sunday and ended Wednesday night with a closing party that honored all the businesses’ employees, customers and musicians.